It seems that every year since Google went public in 2004 has been hailed as the “year of the tech IPO.”
Entrepreneurs and (especially) venture capitalists have been waiting for a return to health of the public markets and a renewed interest by public market investors in tech stocks.
Well, 2011 is actually looking like a bumper year for IPOs.
We’ve already had in close succession Youku, the “YouTube of China”, DangDang, the “Amazon of China” and even Demand Media had a strong IPO despite controversy around its content farm model and accounting. So now plenty of tech companies are waiting in the wings and are either filing or looking to go public.
Vacation rental site HomeAway seems to be doing very well for itself. But a huge competitive threat is Sequoia-backed AirBnB, which lets individual people rent out their homes, a model which is classically disruptive to HomeAway's. The company raised $500 million already and it's going to need all the cash it can get to fend off AirBnB.
Groupon is the fastest growing company in the history of anything, it's huge, profitable, and nothing seems to stand in its way. The investors who pumped almost a billion dollars into the company at a $4 billion valuation are getting a sweet sweet deal since Groupon wants to IPO before the end of the year at a $15-20 billion valuation.
Google was worth $23 billion when it went public so if Groupon really crushes it and the markets are really hot, there's a chance Groupon's IPO ends up bigger than Google's.
Active Network provides software for event registration and management. It's obviously big business and Active Network wants to cash in by raising $150 million.
Skype was spun out to private equity investors at a $2.5 billion valuation and surprised a bunch of people by filing to go public late last year. They're now planning to raise around $100 million this fall. The question is, how much can their valuation go up?
In any case it's a big pay day for venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, who have $50 million in the company.
Viadeo started out as the LinkedIn of France but now it's huge in emerging markets like Brazil, India and China. They're planning on an IPO by the end of the year, and are considering Hong Kong rather than France for their listing. XING, Germany's professional social network, went public in 2006 and LinkedIn is going public, so it makes sense for Viadeo to go for it as well.
Kayak is the leader in travel search and has a great business. Revenue for the nine months ended September 30 2010 was $128 million, with net income of $6.2 million. The only problem? Kayak gets most of its flight data from a company called ITA Software, which Google is acquiring, almost certainly to build a competing product.
Tudou is frequently referred to as the 'YouTube of China' but that's a misnomer. It's part YouTube, part Hulu, and part media company, making its own shows. It's a success, and is even bigger than Youku, the other big Chinese video site, which had a roarer of a US IPO. They want to raise $500 million, and they'll probably get them given investor appetite for tech stocks and China stocks.